Sunday, May 22, 2011

What now?

I don't know what gets into people sometimes. Most of what they think, say and do is harmless because it affects only themselves. Drive around without your seat belt on, smoke, drink too much and eat until you can't fit through your door - it's on you.

Every once in a while something comes along that grabs the public's interest and makes a small group of people more influential than they should be. Such was the case with all this "end of the world" talk on Saturday. There was a lot leading up to it, and even though I saw a few of the nut jobs on the streets of Philadelphia in March, I didn't make the connection until recently. Quickly, the idea became a source of national jokes.

I don't think that's what religion is supposed to be and I'm sure the people in charge of organized religion (them) cringed a little (a lot) when this idea took hold and captivated a nation. At first I thought it was sad that so many people would pay attention to something so preposterous. Then, I started to think that the joke became more important than the concept. In the end, the joke became the story.

People started talking about getting things done before the end of the world and made comments about tentative plans for Sunday based on what was going to happen on Saturday. They weren't serious of course, which is where the joke part comes in.

We believe a lot of junk that we hear. Reverse mortgages, debt consolidation and weight loss scams are abundant. One gives rise to another, and we buy into every one of them. I'm not sure if it's because we really want to believe it or because we think that this one will be the right one. We're gamblers at heart, and when something comes along that we think might be a long shot, we're all in. We're risk takers.

We're even willing to take risks with our self-esteem and personal beliefs, even when it means that failure could mean humiliation. But the humiliation isn't any risk either because the world goes on, and when it does, well ... the world goes on, and those people who believed are left to contemplate their own beliefs. The problem in this case was that the beliefs were not in any deity, but in a man. Man is flawed. To recognize that is the first step toward understanding.

We derive a lot of entertainment out of such things and we all know how important entertainment is to the masses. It's the thing that separates us from putting a shotgun in our mouths on most days. Now that May 21 has come and gone, how will we get to June?


Firestarter5 said...

How come 'God' is given a pat on the back for the people who survived the Joplin tornado, but for those who died, he gets a free pass?

Anthony said...

The religious folk rationalize. Somehow, it's "God's will" when something happens, but yet churches burn down and believers die. It's the human part of religion that's hard to explain.

The NASCAR boys "thank God for a safe race" even when somebody has a crash. Athletes continually thank God for helping them win, but ignore the fact that their losing competitors may be believers too. Why only help one and not the other?

Too many questions. I think I wrote about it somewhere along the line over the past 5 years.